If you want to move from transactional to consultative, here is where you start.
Spend More Time in Discovery: Spend more time in discovery understanding your dream client’s real needs. You want to understand the needs that they know how to express, and you want to understand the real needs that they have not yet identified. You want to deal with the root cause, not the presenting problem. To create the most compelling, value creating opportunity, you need to work to understand what needs to change, why it needs to change, what that change needs to look like, and how you can help your dream client with their transformation. Most of the value you create as a salesperson happens early in the process.
Go Deep and Wide: You can’t do real discovery work with a single contact in a complex sale. You need to meet with stakeholders throughout your dream client’s company. You need to work your way up to leadership to understand their strategic needs, and you need to work down to end users to capture their needs—and a lot of insight around the real obstacles you are likely to encounter. The consensus you need later is built on your having captured the organization’s needs—not just the CEO of the Problem.
Be Bigger and Bolder: You need to present a differentiated, compelling level of value. You can’t sell what you believe is easy to sell (that makes you something less than a trusted advisor). You can’t sell what you believe is easy to sell, or what you believe you can sell fast. Both are transactional behaviors. You have to sell the greatest outcome you are capable of producing, even if it is a more difficult sale, and even if it takes more time.
Don’t Sell Product: If you want to focus on value creation, then you can’t lead with product. The value you create cannot be in the product or service. It has to be greater than that. It has to be outcomes.
Don’t Sell Price: If you lead with price, you aren’t selling the value you create. Price is the absence of value. Leading with price means you aren’t competing on the real value you create.
Don’t Sell to Your Coach/Sponsor/Authority Alone: Selling greater value requires that you sell to the whole organization. Selling to only one person is transactional.
The first three behaviors here allow you to create and develop compelling value. They move you from transactional to consultative. The last three behaviors subtract value and move you in the wrong direction.
How do you create value early in the sales process?
What do you do to create value in the discovery phase of the buying cycle?
Where do you find your dream client’s real needs and real obstacles?
Do you always present the best solution possible, even when it may cost you time?